Bruce Gordon was lucky again, he could freeze without waking up, but he woke up. Trying to turn over on the other side, Bruce realized that his stiff body was almost not obeying him, a little more, and he would surely have frozen. With difficulty, he pulled off his icy clothes, rubbed his body with rum, and took a little inside. At this time, it suddenly seemed to him that he could hear human voices, Bruce shouted something in response with the last of his strength. Fearing that he was not heard, he squeezed back into the aft cabin and was literally dumbfounded — a polar bear was standing at the broken window, behind which several more of his relatives flashed.
It was the grumbling of these beasts that he took for human voices. The bears smelled whale blubber and gathered around the ship in anticipation of the prey. With horror, Bruce saw two bears in the distance tearing at the body of Captain Hughes, and in anger he shouted at them. The bears stood up on their hind legs in surprise, then, considering that the source of the sound did not pose a threat to them, calmly returned to their occupation. Further attempts to scare them away by shouting only led to the fact that the bears decided to take care of Bruce himself. He urgently barricaded himself inside the ship, drank rum from a barrel for courage and warmth, found some blankets, built a kind of lair out of them, climbed into it, warmed up and fell asleep again. So life began among the ice of this desperate polar Robinson.
In the early days, Gordon conducted a thorough survey of the ship’s immediate premises and an audit of all the supplies he had. It turned out that they should be enough for the onset of the polar summer.
A nice find was a small cask of brandy. However, Bruce understood that, warming himself only with alcohol, he would not survive, it was necessary to get into the main hold of the ship, where the coal was supposed to be.
When Gordon found kresalo and flint, he literally danced with joy, he needed a fire to dry the clothes he found, cook food, melt ice to get water. To get to the coal, he had to literally cut through the spilled and frozen blubber. Finally, he had bags of coal at his disposal. He crushed the coal into smaller pieces and dragged them into the living compartment.
It was a polar winter outside, but inside it was now warm and quite comfortable. Although bears often approached the ship, Bruce was not particularly afraid of them, because he practically did not go outside, and he securely barricaded the entrance to the ship.
However, one day an uninvited guest managed to crack his reliable barricade. One night Bruce woke up to a strange noise outside the door of the room where his food was stored. Someone was wandering around there, scratching the door. When Gordon heard the savory slurping and crunching of biscuits, he realized that a bear had climbed up to him. Bruce could not allow an uninvited guest to destroy his supplies, he lit a fire, grabbed a large sharp knife and kicked open the door.
Stunned by his sudden appearance, the beast tried to escape, but got stuck in a narrow hole with its head out. Gordon jumped up to the bear and stabbed him a couple of times under the shoulder blade.
In the morning he woke up again from incomprehensible sounds. It turned out that during the night fight he overlooked another guest, he was too small. Probably, the frightened bear cub hid in some corner, but hunger forced him to get out of his hiding place. He licked his murdered mother, but she, to his surprise, was in no hurry to feed her baby. At first, Bruce wanted to kill the bear cub, but he just didn’t have the hand to take the life of this cute harmless creature. He decided to try to tame the bear cub, since it was a female, Bruce named her Nancy. That was the name of his beloved, who remained in Scotland, Gordon hoped that she would wait for his return, if, of course, he managed to return.
Fortunately, there were no problems with feeding the bear, Bruce fed his Nancy with whale meat, which was in abundance in the hold. Gradually Nancy got used to Bruce, she greatly brightened up his existence, he played with her, talked, slept, snuggled up to her warm side. For the polar Robinson, it became a kind of Friday. Gordon took her for walks with him. At first, he often carried the bear in his arms, but soon Nancy grew up and became heavy for him. It gave him a lot of pleasure to watch his pet rolling in the snow, tumbling, sliding down the ice slides on the “fifth point”. Sometimes he thought that hardly anyone would believe him when he told about the bear, which he held by the paw, standing in a captain’s coat in the middle of the icy silence.
In the middle of the polar summer, from the top of the iceberg, he saw that the sea was almost a mile clear of ice to the north. Gordon moved with Nancy to his hiding place on an iceberg, one night there was a crack, the ice field split. An iceberg with a small fragment of an ice floe with a ship frozen into it broke off from the main ice field, the polar voyage of the indomitable Scotsman began.
Bruce’s drift on an iceberg with a fragment of an ice field lasted for six months. Once an iceberg was driven so close to the shore of some unknown land by the current that Gordon managed to see people on it. He started shouting, waving his arms, it seemed to him, she growled loudly, people on the shore immediately hid behind rocks. The iceberg carried on, the unique chance to return to people was lost.
Dejected by the missed chance, Bruce hardly left his hiding place, he slept a lot, talked and played with the bear, and once again reread the lot, the only book found on the ship. One day, at the beginning of the second polar winter, Gordon suddenly heard a shot, he managed to find a pistol on the ship, and he had been holding it ready for a long time. Bruce fired back, then another and another. After three shots, he heard a shot again, it seemed that a ship’s cannon was firing.
Alas, there was fog all around, it was necessary not to waste time, and Bruce decided to go in the direction where the shot sounded. He quickly packed up and headed with Nancy across the ice field. Gordon walked for quite a long time, suddenly Nancy, who was circling around him, began to show concern and sniff the snow. Bruce found a lot of footprints, human footprints! Delighted, he quickened his pace, and then the unexpected happened: looking back, the Scotsman saw that a polar bear was following his trail.
He started to run, but the bear was clearly catching up with him, Gordon threw his bag of food and with only one knife in his hand continued his run. When he turned around once again, he saw that two bears were eating supplies from his bag, in one of them he recognized Nancy. The alien bear was clearly a male, he was interested in Nancy, and he was no longer up to Bruce.
Gordon continued to follow the human tracks, afraid of losing them in the twilight. Finally, he heard voices and saw three human figures. The strangers looked at the strange, emaciated, pale man with surprise, as if he had fallen from the sky. Bruce was taken to the headman of a small colony, in which lived 17 men and 31 women. The triple excess in the number of the fairer sex was caused by the fact that many men from the settlement died hunting or at sea.
In this settlement, which was located in Greenland, Bruce spent four years, continuing to dream of returning to his homeland. One summer, a rumor spread through the village that whalers and seal hunters had appeared in the south. Although they were a very considerable distance away, Gordon still decided to try to get to the whalers. He warmly said goodbye to the colonists who sheltered him, they gave him their best canoe, on which he sailed towards the unknown.
He sailed along the coast for a long time, stopping on the ground only for the night, finally in one of the bays he noticed several ships that, having raised their sails, were already sailing away from the Greenland shores.
Fortunately, he was noticed: so Gordon ended up on board the Dutch ship “Brielle” from Amsterdam. Already on the Brielle, Bruce learned that almost seven years had passed since the death of the Anna Phobe. Four weeks later, Bruce managed to transfer to a ship that was bound for his native Scotland.
At home, the whole story of Gordon’s misadventures was perceived ambiguously, it seemed too incredible, Bruce was even nicknamed Munchausen… His version of events was supported only by the disappearance of the Anna Phobe and her crew, as well as the fact that he had been absent for almost seven years and his discovery off the coast of Greenland. However, over time, the captains of ships that sailed to the Arctic began to notice with surprise that many of the topographic features of the coasts that Bruce noted, past which he sailed, correspond to the truth, as well as the currents available in those parts. The story of the polar Robinson aroused more and more confidence, Bruce was even asked to write a book about his adventures.
Alas, Gordon never wrote the book, fortunately, at least the story about such an incredible robinsonade, recorded from his words, has been preserved.